Like most little girls, I grew up amidst the magical delights of princesses, princes, glass coaches, and dreams of happily ever after! Plus, I had the additional joy of having parents who encouraged me to believe ANYTHING was possible! Plus, PLUS, it is strongly written in my genetic code to imagine HUGE, dream BIG, and not to settle for anything less than the biggest bam EVER!
I was an adult before I realized that I could want something that actually could be a really stupid thing to want. I lived by the seat of my pants! I had always let the wind take me where it would. If I felt it, I went for it! And that phrase, "follow your heart"? Wow. Turns out that is not the smartest advice.
The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?
What?! I thought we were SUPPOSED to follow our heart! The oldest and wisest women in all movies and books say to follow your heart. They mean, if your insides are telling you to go for it, then you should!
But Jeremiah wasn't the only prophet to say otherwise...
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
And heeeere's Moses!
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.
And (drum roll please) straight from the Master himself, Jesus Christ!
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
This realization changed EVERYTHING for me! To the extreme! Surprise, surprise, that I would do anything "extreme," right? Lol! I had such a powerful "overtaking" of my own heart's deceit, I actually stopped praying some very specific prayers in case I was "praying amiss!" I have absolute faith that when I present needs, requests, or desires to God that he WILL answer me! I have prayed for multiple people to be healed of cancer, and BAM! They were instantly cured! I have prayed for money and have gotten it! I have prayed for homes to be made available to people and within hours it has happened. It is not that I am anything special. I simply, LITERALLY, believe that God set prayer up FOR THE PURPOSE OF HIM DOING IT! He said, "You have not because you ask not." So I believe that when I ask, I get it!
How can you pray for God to heal someone when you might be praying that way out of selfishness? How can you pray that so-and-so gets a specific job when you may be asking for something that could ultimately hurt a lot of people? How can you pray that God would give you a specific house, or car, or ANYTHING when it could be your deceitful heart telling you only the good of it?!
I did not know how to pray about people who had hurt me, turned their back on me, or spoken ill of me. Part of me wanted to ask God to bring them back to me while part of me wanted to tell God to strike them dead where they stood!
There is example after example of God doing what people asked of him even though it was not best for them. There are examples of God honoring prayers of destruction and prayers of exaltation. And I do mean that when people prayed, God would destroy someone by striking them down, or exalt them by elevating their status; He did just that!
When a person believes in the power of prayer as I do, AND you realize your heart can deceive you... Whew! I was in a jam!
I spent weeks and weeks in frustration. Literally crying without uttering a word because I didn't know what was the right thing to pray for.
Then, as my wonderful savior ALWAYS does, he started speaking HIS thoughts into my spirit. And, also as he always does, he was using his eternal, written word to do so.
Jesus reminded me that even though it’s true that my heart or "feelings" can deceive me, he is stronger, mightier, and more powerful than my deceptive heart! (1 John 3:20) As sure as a person could have a deceptive heart, they can also have an UPRIGHT heart! (Psalms 7:10) It's a simple matter of ASKING FOR an acceptable heart! (Psalms 19:14) It is as simple as praying that God would CREATE a clean heart! (Psalms 51:10) God is no stranger to creation! He is not caught off guard when we show up saying, "Jesus, take this stony heart out of me and give me a tender heart." It is his good pleasure to write HIS desires on your heart so that we will not have to struggle with our deceitful desires. (Ezekiel 36:26)
The heart truly IS deceitful. And the question Jeremiah asked in 17:9, "Who can know it?" was answered that day as I sat in God's presence. I could feel his smile, as a father smiles on his child. He said to my spirit, "I'm the one who knows it. I'm the one who KNOWS your heart." (Psalms 44:21)
As God calmed my fears, and comforted my troubled soul, I began to pray, "Lord, I'm going to ask for some specific things, but I'm not positive I'm asking for the exact RIGHT things. So you know my heart. You know that what I REALLY want, more than anything, is for YOUR PERFECT WILL TO BE DONE."
I'm sure there are very few wack-jobs in this world as crazy and literal as I am. Which means that you will likely not go through this same hoopla over something so simple. But you should be aware and remember that your heart (feelings, emotions, cravings) actually CAN be deceitful and draw you into wanting things that in reality you do not want. It's a deception.
But also be aware that a continual surrender to God's plan and his written word will shine a light on your heart and dispel all the shadows of deception.
Perhaps I'll blog about how to pray effectively later. But for now I will at least say that I think it is a very good habit to pray prayers of surrender and repentance BEFORE you lay out your list of requests.
What a great God to love us so much.
Denée Richardson, Le Muser
~Thanks to Lisa Velie for editing.
Psalms 7:10 (KJV)
My defence [is] of God, which saveth the upright in heart.
Psalms 10:17 (KJV)
LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
Psalms 19:14 (KJV)
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 37:4 (KJV)
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Psalms 37:31 (KJV)
The law of his God [is] in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
Psalms 44:21 (KJV)
Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
Psalms 51:10 (KJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV)
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
1 John 3:20